Early on March 22nd, 2021, Governor Inslee and Mayor Pavone met with AAPI community leaders with the city council present (watch here). Local leaders at the event included: Toshiko Hasegawa, State Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos, State Representative My-Linh Thai, and others.
Renton has become a regional focal point after a downtown incident went viral. In the time since, attacks on AAPI communities have escalated and many individuals express concerns saying they do not feel safe after the Atlanta-area attack. In response to this crisis, the City of Renton has issued statements condemning hate, but some say this doesn’t go far enough. Councilmember Kim-Khánh Van has asked for the administration to directly condemn phrases like “kung flu” and “Chinese virus”, defamatory terms used to scapegoat the pandemic on AAPI communities.
In a statement from the City of Renton over meeting with the governor, Mayor Pavone says:
I, along with the entire Renton City Council, stand alongside Gov. Jay Inslee and many elected officials in support of our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and against hate of any kind.Mayor Pavone joins Gov. Inslee in condemning hate crimes, March 22 2021
Later in the evening, community members gathered on the steps of Renton City Hall for the second week in a row. This was another demonstration organized by the AAPI Coalition Against Hate and Bias. Those who attended were encouraged to speak at the city council meeting. Several residents did so, demanding bold action from the mayor and city council at the meeting.